Love works in mysterious ways.

This past week was a brutal one for me. At least that’s how old Charlotte would see it. And it all pretty much centered around my love life. A love life, to me, has always been about as clear as mud. I’ve not ever really maintained one. A real love life has just never…come up.

I have had a relationship I considered “serious.” It was out of that we created our beautiful daughter. Would I call what her father and I had a love life? Partly, I suppose. There were certainly moments of love. There were flashes and phases of peace and harmony. Mainly, there was confusion and this sad, empty longing. I was 20 years old! I was…I was… Honestly, I have no clue what I was. I see so clearly now that we were letting life live us. Love–or anything like it–was just along for the ride.

Over the years, I’ve studied the friends and family I have who have been able to maintain a love relationship. Now friends, don’t fret none; by “studied,” I don’t mean anything too snoopy. Yes, I peeked into your bedroom windows in the wee hours. Yes, I hacked my way into your e-mail accounts marked PRIVATE NASTY SEXY STUFF. Yes, I put on big, dark shades over my eyeglasses, my special little black cat suit–ears, tail and all–and I followed you on your hot, romantic Friday night dates (a. How could you not see me?! And b. Please, for my sake, STOP going to Applebee’s!)

I’ve watched you. Admired you. Admired your commitment to one another, even through the difficult times. I’ve considered you a unit. A pair of one. A perfect little yin and yang collector’s item. I’ve loved looking at you from here. And I’d like to believe it’s your love for one another that keeps you there.

An old Charlotte love life is made up of extreme emotions; longing, fear, giddiness, desperation, passion, jealousy. Up down. Up down. And an emptiness that nothing seems to fill. New Charlotte wants a love life that’s constant and pure. Genuine. Powerful and passionate, yes. But not erratic and out of control. Lionel Richie sums it up for me with his lyric “Easy like Sunday morning.” That’s how I want to be. That’s how my love life looks to me.

When I began my New Charlotte project, I had no idea how it would take off. Once I made up my mind to create my world of delightenment, I had absolutely no idea the Universe would say, “Hmmm. Really? Okay girl. You sure, honey? Alright then, buckle up. Here you gooooooo!” I was really sort of focused on my unfulfilling job situation, my desire to blog and write books, my intense need to feel like I was doing something worthwhile with my life. I had no idea the degree to which everything in my life would be impacted by my new choices. I had no idea the kinds of emotions and challenges and opportunities that would end up showing up.

Last week, love worked in my life in mysterious ways. It shook me up a little bit. Challenged me. It got all up in my face, with a tone of voice and attitude remarkably similar to the one the Universe used in the last paragraph, and asked, “Do you want me? Do you really? Because I don’t have to be here, you know. I work in all these mysterious ways and I can bounce up outta here if you want!” And then love settled down a bit and smiled. It reassured me that I’m capable of having it. If I want it. And it promised me I never have to go to Applebee’s if I don’t want. “Red Lobster is always right around the corner, baby!”

A love life is new to me. It’s foreign. Old Charlotte was pretty accustomed to being alone. New Charlotte doesn’t have to be.

Til next time.